Page 11234..»

Archive for the ‘Sri Aurobindo’ Category

Revolutionary to Yogi – The Statesman

Posted: November 25, 2019 at 1:42 am


without comments

Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872- 1950) went to England for education when he was seven. His political life began there in his teens. Although he qualified in the ICS examination, he was not selected as he chose to abstain from the horseriding test. He secured a First in Classics and a Tripos at Cambridge in 1892. Returning to India in 1893, he joined the Baroda College as professor of English, and later became its principal. In 1902, he came in touch with Thakur Saheb who was then the leader of a secret Maharastra revolutionary group, and was thus initiated into the revolutionary movement. Participating in the protest against the partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo left Baroda College.

The next year, in 1906, he settled in Bengal and joined the newly started National College as its principal. In 1907, he gave a revolutionary turn to the apolitical organization Anushilan Samiti which was founded in 1902 by its president, Pramathanath Mitra, of which he was a Vice-President. He reorganized it and made Sister Nivedita its member. Under his direction young men, including his brother Barindra Ghose, were making bombs and guns. Sri Aurobindo was a follower of Tilak when the latter left the Congress in Surat and took to extremism. Tilak was no longer prominent in Indian politics after 1908 when he was sentenced to transportation for six years and sent to Mandalaya jail on a charge of sedition.

Meanwhile, Sri Aurobindo was appointed Assistant Editor by another extremist, Bipin Chandra Pal, in his English paper, Bande Mataram,. He soon took charge of the paper as Pal was eased out of it in 1907. Swami Vivekanandas brother, Bhupendranath and Barindra, who were also connected with the work of Bande Mataram, found Pal half-hearted. Pals faith in revolutionary idealism did not last long. In 1913, he pleaded for the continuation of the British connection in view of the immense possibilities of federal internationalism. Sri Aurobindo was accused of seditious writings in Bande Mataram and was accused of involvement in the Alipore bomb case in 1908. While in jail, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das fought for him in court and proved that he was not guilty.

He was in Alipore jail for a year as an undertrial and was acquitted for want of evidence but Barindra was sentenced to transportation for life. After his release he brought out the English weekly Karmayogin and the Bengali weekly Dharma. Now his connection with revolutionary activity was open and clear. A warrant of arrest was therefore issued against him in February 1910 for writing an article titled To My Countrymen. Realising his impending incarceration, he secretly left for his home town, the French Chandannagar, from where he moved to Pondicherry and spent the rest of his life there in a spiritual quest. Deshbandhu described Sri Aurobindo as the prophet of nationalism.

But where did he get so much power and inspiration from? Prof. Subodh Chandra Sengupta has the correct answer: It was Swami Vivekananda who introduced the cult of Shaktiworship, which was taken up by a succession of brilliant men, the first two being Aurobindo Ghose and Barindra Ghose, who might be called the joint authors of Bhawani Mandir. It was a political tract the idea of which was Barindras and the writing of Sri Aurobindos. It was displayed in the Alipore Conspiracy case. Initially, Sri Aurobindo wasnt perhaps acquainted with Swamijis writings but felt their impact, which was the fountain of Swamijis pervasive influence.

Going through his works subsequently and by dint of his interactions with Sister Nivedita and others, he became knowledgeable about Swamiji. His knowledge about Sri Ramakrishna was also remarkable. Though he didnt meet them, their lives and spiritual ideas took deep roots in his mind. He however met Sarada Devi in 1910 on a Sunday and paid his respect to her at the Udbodhan House in Baghbazar. His wife Mrinalini Devi was an initiated disciple of Sarada Devi. Both were worshipers of Kali. Mrinalini Devi was a well-known spiritual personality by her own right and had a following. She stayed all her life at Chandannagar. Sri Aurobindo claimed that he received three messages on a mystical plane from Sri Ramakrishna between 1908 and 1912.

By his own admission, Sri Ramakrishnas influence on the development of his spiritual life was profound. He said to a disciple: Remember also that we derive from Ramakrishna. For myself it was Ramakrishna who personally came and first turned me to this Yoga. He also claimed that Swamiji mystically communicated to him various instructions in meditation during his imprisonment for a year. He said: Vivekananda in Alipore jail gave me the foundations of that knowledge which is the basis of our Sadhana. Considering these two statements alone, if one presumes that he held Ramakrishna- Vivekananda as his Guru one would not be wrong. Those two spiritual phenomena in his life are ample reason to believe that Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were pathfinders in his mystical journey.

That his mind was suffused with their thoughts is evident from many of his religious and philosophical writings which exude their ideas eloquently. In an editorial piece of Dharma (26 Poush 1316) with the heading Sri Ramakrishna O Bhabishyat Bharat, he said with an absolute faith to show that Sri Ramakrishna was the highest manifestation of the power of God. He wrote: The man appeared as Sri Ramakrishna is the Antaryami Bhagawan. He had also written unequivocally, Satya-yuga arrived on earth by the touch of Sri Ramakrishnas feet; the world is dipped in joy in his touch; with his Advent, the gloom accumulated over centuries disappeared. He established Yuga-dharma, and was the sum total of all the earlier Avataras. Sri Aurobindo was convinced that Sri Ramakrishna gave to India the final message of Hinduism to the world.

Similarly, his estimation about Swamiji was tremendous. He described him as a very lion among men. He said: The going forth of Vivekananda, marked out by the Master (Sri Ramakrishna) as the heroic soul destined to take the world between his two hands and change it, was the first visible sign to the world that India was awake not only to survive but to conquer. Sri Aurobindo was a prolific writer on the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita. His interpretations of these important scriptures were in the non-sectarian spirit of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. In a treatise on Isha Upanishad he reflected on Sri Ramakrishnas precept of non-difference (abhedatwa) between Brahman and Shakti. Sri Ramakrishna is specially conspicuous in his book The Life Divine. He used in it in the parables and analogies used by Sri Ramakrishna. Developing Sri Ramakrishnas teaching that everything is possible for God, Sri Aurobindo claims that the infinite is illimitably free, free to determine itself infinitely, free from all of its restraining effect of its own creations.

Again, as Sri Ramakrishna said God is both with and without form, so also Sri Aurobindo said that the Divine Being is at once Form and the Formless. There are numerous such instances in his works which he believed deserve allusions for the benefit of the seekers of Truth and God. According to Sri Aurobindo, all religions express one Truth in various ways and move by various paths to one goal. In the final analysis Vedanta propounds that the Infinite Reality is at once personal and impersonal, static and dynamic, with and without form, immanent and transcendent.

He affirmed the harmony of all religions precisely on the basis of this non-sectarian Vedantic worldview, faithfully following Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. The actual revolutionary activity of Sri Aurobindo spanned hardly four years. But his spiritual pursuit spanned four decades. Within this period he raised himself by intense sadhana to be an extraordinary yogi of distinctive character and epitome. Cutting across classes, communities and countries, he is now globally acceptable as a spiritual pathfinder for peace and harmony.

(The writer is with Ramakrishna Mission, Narendrapur)

See more here:
Revolutionary to Yogi - The Statesman

Written by admin

November 25th, 2019 at 1:42 am

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

The Uncertain Future of the World’s Largest Secondhand Book Market – Atlas Obscura

Posted: at 1:42 am


without comments

Shortly after dawn in Kolkata, India, musky plumes of incense waft through the passageways of Das Gupta & Co. bookstore, diffusing among the decades-old volumes on its steep mahogany shelves. The smoke billows out of the shops peeling, pale-blue doors and onto Kolkatas College Street, the largest secondhand book market in the world.

Each morning, as part of a common Hindu tradition known as puja, a daily prayer ritual usually intended to praise a deity, the bespectacled Arabinda Das Gupta swings a brass censer around his old shop. He is a fourth-generation bookseller; the object of his worship is the written word. Puja concentrates your mind on the books, he says. Theres chaos and movement before, but then the words go still like grains of rice. I need that sense of calm to go about my days work in this place.

Das Guptas shop is the oldest in the entire market. When Arabindas great-grandfather, Girish Chandra Das Gupta, arrived in Kolkata in 1886, he had little competition. Very few books were available at the time, so he imported them to meet demand, he says. The shop opened that year with a noble mission: the spreading of knowledge. It had just 50 books.

Nowadays, the market can trade that many books in a few minutes. College Street, known by locals as Boi Para (which roughly translates to Book Town), spans more than a mile and covers a million square feet. Bigwigs of Bengali publishing coexist with makeshift stalls hammered together from wood, bamboo, tin, and canvas, in a chaotic matrix that runs from Mahatma Gandhi Road to Ganesh Chandra Avenue.

College Street has every imaginable type of text, available in Bengali, English, Mandarin, Sanskrit, Dutch, and every dialect in between. Precious first editions and literary classics sit cheek by jowl with medical encyclopedias, religious texts, and pulp fiction, often precariously stacked in uneven piles that resemble jagged cliff faces. Wily booksellers peer from raised wooden stalls; bearded collectors rifle through stock; mothers drag first-year university students through the aisles to collect their required reading.

The old-world charm of College Street may not last forever, however. Flyovers and shopping malls have sprung up across the city, courtesy of rapid modernization projects that are flattening unique histories. More than a century after the book market was founded, some booksellers are worried that change is coming to College Street.

Kolkatas rich literary heritage dates back to the 18th century, when the East India Company helped to make it a major printing center. Under Lord Wellesley, the British colonial governor who organized construction of the citys central roads, the Hindu College was built in 1817, later followed by the Calcutta Medical College, the first medical school in the country, in 1852 and the University of Calcutta in 1857. These colleges set up a syndicate with several shops in the 1870s, catering to Indias intelligentsia and British colonizers alike, and College Street market was born.

Decades ago, the British poet and translator Joe Winter described College Street as a planet littered with books, a crazed sales pitch wherever one looks. His description still rings true. Yellow and green tuk-tuks, or auto-rickshaws, fly by; men drag carts of books; bicyclists squeeze through narrow gaps with bags of books balanced on their handlebars. Even more books arrive on the citys technicolor buses and yellow taxis, which are shaped like turtle shells.

Although books arent a necessity like they once were, with so many alternative ways of getting information, somehow we keep going, says Pinaki Majumdar of APC Ray, arms tucked pensively behind him. He wears the unofficial College Street uniform: a striped, short-sleeve shirt and a round belly that belies the sedentary lifestyle of a reader and Kolkatas fried street food. Majumdar is one of the longest-serving of the cheeky, chattering booksellers. APC Ray bookstore was set up in 1910, boasting of rare editions from Bengali greats such as Rabindranath Tagore and Jibanananda Das. Books are everything to me, adds Majumdar. I started reading when I was just five years old and never stopped. I even love them more than my wife.

But a new development could cut deeply into the business of the hawkers who have thrived here. For years, the state government has been pushing ahead with an ambitious, centralized book mall that will stretch over a million square feet, as large a floorspace as all of the existing bookstores combined.

According to the projects architects, the Barnaparichay Mall is to launch next summer, and will offer sleek, modern boutiques, a library, an auction center, translation services, and cafs. The mall is to enrich the book culture and habits of Kolkata, says Sankalan Tatar, of the architecture firm Prakalpa Planning Solutions. It will be an integrated book mall. Literature, life, and leisure will be under one roof. This will be the most happening place in north Kolkata.

Traditional booksellers fear that the mall will threaten the traditions of College Street. The place will be soulless, says Das Gupta. But Im worried that people will prefer the cheap prices and comfort of the book mall, so Im considering taking a place there. For some of the less-established booksellers, the malls rental prices will be prohibitive. The book mall is too expensive for me to move, says Ranjit Biswas, owner of a cupboard-sized stall full of dusty books. I couldnt even if I wanted to.

According to Tatar, some concessions will be made. For example, on Sundays, the malls escalators will be switched off for two hours, allowing the makeshift booksellers to come into the mall and ply their trade in certain spaces.

Many booksellers remain unconvinced. At the markets famous Indian Coffee House on Bankim Chatterjee Street, a historic meeting spot for Kolkatas writers and thinkers, the mall is a constant subject of adda, the Bengali art of wide-ranging conversation, often practiced here among students.

Akashleena Bhaduri, a third-year engineering student at the University of Kolkata, sips on a sugary coffee and makes the case for the book mall. This place is outdated, the roads are dirty, the hygiene is poor, and in the summer its unbearably hot, Bhaduri says. Ohit Banerjee, a postgraduate researching comparative Indian language and literature, fires back. My elders told me that Mahatma Gandhi bought a rare book from here, and that he said it was a special place, he says. We must protect it.

Whatever awaits Kolkatas College Street in its next chapter, the community has already survived innumerable challenges. It has been through two world wars, has managed to remain a center of political and literary activism since the 1930s, and witnessed the beginning of the revolutionary Naxalite movement in the 1970s. According to Das Gupta, violent protests broke out against the stocking of controversial books, such as D.H. Lawrences Lady Chatterleys Lover. On May 30, 2004, his shop suffered a fire that caused enormous damage and destroyed maps of Bengal dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Still, College Street has gone on to become the beating heart of Indias literary world, with intellectuals such as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, a Harvard economist and frequent visitor, making it a home away from home. Institutions such as the fifth-generation Bani Library, known for its science collection, and Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir, a religious center established in 1941, has made it a pillar in the citys identity. These achievements, the booksellers say, can never be taken away.

During a rare moment of afternoon calm, Das Gupta sits down for a chai masala, boiled in huge pots and served in tiny, ceramic cups. In the background, booksellers lean lazily over their stalls; others squat down low to gossip, or calmly leaf through thick tomes. There is a sense of togetherness. This is the way that I see it, he says, widening his silver eyebrows. Weve written this history and we wont be forgotten.

Read next

The tribe finally completed a ceremony interrupted by a massacre in 1860.

View original post here:
The Uncertain Future of the World's Largest Secondhand Book Market - Atlas Obscura

Written by admin

November 25th, 2019 at 1:42 am

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Odd-even scheme: Arvind Kejriwal to decide on extension of rule on Nov 18 – Business Today

Posted: November 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm


without comments

Amid a sharp increase in air pollution in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has stated that the Delhi government will decide on extension of the odd-even scheme on November 18. The minister held a press conference at 12pm on Friday, where he said, "As per weather forecast, air quality in Delhi will improve in the next 2-3 days. If the air quality doesn't improve, we will take a decision on extending odd-even vehicle scheme on November 18."

Delhiites woke up to a rather thick blanket of smog on Friday. Air quality in the city has dipped to 'severe-plus' level. November 15 is the third consecutive day of Delhi's dipping air quality. Friday is the last and final day of 12-day odd-even car rationing scheme.

Air quality in several areas of the city was recorded at severe categories. AQI at Pusa Road was at 777, while it was 930 at Dwarka Sector 8. AQI at Sri Aurobindo Marg was 733, 757 at Ashok Vihar, 610 at Jahangirpuri, 808 at Narela, 865 at Bawana, 722 at Okhla, 765 at Rohini.

He had earlier stated that the scheme could be extended "if need arises". "If the need arises, we will extend it," Kejriwal had said to media.

The CM had also appealed to the opposition parties to not resist the scheme. "Pollution has increased drastically. All of Delhi is demanding odd-even. At such a time, the Opposition should support the people's wish," he had said.

Arvind Kejriwal has blamed stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the air quality in Delhi. He had said that these states were disregarding the directions of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Delhi government on a plea challenging the odd-even road rationing scheme. The apex court also directed it to show the data of pollution in Delhi from October till November 14 this year. The bench also directed Delhi government to submit pollution data from October 1 to December 31, 2018.

Also read: Delhi air pollution: No relief from thick smog as AQI hovers around 500-mark on the last day of odd-even rule

Also read: Tired of the pollution in Delhi? Migrate to these cities

Read the original:
Odd-even scheme: Arvind Kejriwal to decide on extension of rule on Nov 18 - Business Today

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Treating education as a public good – The Hindu

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

It is not surprising that Jiddu Krishnamurti, arguably the greatest Indian thinker on education in the 20th century, does not find a mention in the most recent iteration of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2019. Krishnamurthis ideas on education and freedom learning in a non-competitive and non-hierarchical ecosystem and discovering ones true passion without any sense of fear may have been too heterodox for a government report. Nonetheless, there are elements of contemporary global thinking that do inform the NEP en passant the emphasis on creativity and critical thinking and the ability to communicate and collaborate across cultural differences, which are part of the global common sense.

The near-final NEP, despite its lacunae, is a vast improvement over its earlier, almost-unreadable avatar. The reports 55-page brevity is matched by a reader-friendly organisational structure: four chapters focussing on school education; higher education; other key areas like adult education, technology and promotion of arts and culture; and a section on making it happen by establishing an apex body and the financial aspects to make quality education affordable for all. While the commitment to double the government expenditure on education from about 10% to 20% over a 10-year period is still insufficient, given the enormity of the challenge, it is an unprecedented commitment to the sector.

Education, for most of us, is a necessary public good central to the task of nation building and, like fresh air, is necessary to make our communities come alive; it should not be driven solely by market demand for certain skills, or be distracted by the admittedly disruptive impact, for instance, of Artificial Intelligence. This form of education should be unshackled from the chains of deprivation, and affordable education, for instance in JNU, is vital to ensure access to even the most marginalised sections of our country. Education policy, in essence, must aim to produce sensitive, creative and upright citizens who are willing to take the less-travelled path and whose professional skills will endure revolutions in thinking and technology.

A menu of choices provided by the private sector, which reduces education to the status of a commodity and views our youthful demography as human capital, is being doled out as panacea by instant India specialists to our educational challenges. This is a fallacy. We have to be conscious and deeply aware that there is no developed country where the public sector was not in the vanguard of school and higher education expansion, in ensuring its inclusiveness, and in setting standards. Even the sui generis Ivy League universities, created because of generous philanthropic endowments, function more like public institutions today. It was, therefore, essential for the government to produce a blueprint for reforms after widespread consultation; whether the present NEP report can deliver on this challenge is debatable.

As an academic, I am of course delighted that the NEPs stated goal is to reinstate teachers as the most respected members of our society. Empowerment of teachers remains a key mantra of the policy, and it is understood that this can only be achieved by ensuring their livelihood, respect, dignity and autonomy, while ensuring quality and accountability. If the NEP stems the rot in most institutions of learning which leads to the erosion of autonomy of teachers even on academic forums it would have achieved a major breakthrough. Indeed, such is the intolerant dictatorial attitude of many of our current university leaders that the act of intervening in academic debates itself seems like treason.

Equally laudable is the emphasis on early childhood care and schooling more generally. The anganwadis remain the backbone of an early childhood care system but have suffered on multiple grounds, including lack of facilities and proper training. This, as the report recognises, needs to change; but the incremental and rather ad hoc changes proposed (in stand-alone anganwadis, or anganwadis co-located with primary schools, etc.) may not deliver. The idea of volunteer teachers, peer tutoring, rationalisation of the system of schools and sharing of resources does sound ominous. It is also not clear what strategies will be adopted, nor what resources will be committed, to strengthen the public sector, including the Kendriya Vidyalayas, the State government-run institutions and the municipal schools.

Much has to be learnt here from examples even in the non-commercial private sector. The best example I know of holistic childhood education is that of Mirambika, a free-progress, experimental school inspired by the writings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

The NEP wisely recognises that a comprehensive liberal arts education will help to develop all capacities of human beings intellectual, aesthetic, social, physical, emotional, and moral in an integrated manner. Indias past, and its unique, culturally diverse matrix provide a rich framework, but delivering on a holistic liberal education programme requires much more than just proclamations.

The proposal to establish a National Research Foundation, with an overarching goal... to enable a culture of research to permeate through our universities needs to be applauded and widely supported. But the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) has understandably generated scepticism. While, on paper, the NTA will serve as a premier, expert, autonomous testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for admissions and fellowships in higher educational institutions, in reality, universities and departments may lose autonomy over admissions, even of research students. This is not an empty fear; the initial signs of this change are already visible in universities.

Equally serious is the concern about the division between research-intensive premier universities; teaching universities; and colleges. The NEP suggests, three types of institutions are not in any natural way a sharp, exclusionary categorisation, but are along a continuum. But the advantage of these divisions, per se, is neither intuitively nor analytically clear, given that high quality teaching and cutting-edge research comfortably coexist in most universities of excellence.

The NEP draft will now be placed before the Cabinet; one hopes that many of the concerns raised are addressed before an official policy is finally announced, recognising also the enormous pressure from global educational service providers to capture the Indian education market.

In 2003, I had the opportunity, as Vice Chancellor of the University of Jammu, to invite the then-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K.S. Sudarshan for breakfast at home. Also invited were my colleagues in the university, K.L. Bhatia and Nirmal Singh. Addressing the issue of a section of Jammu chauvinists campaigning against my appointment (as a Kashmiri) to the Vice Chancellorship, Sudarshan said: This is a vishvavidyalaya (university) an academic universe, a global sanctuary of ideas which we can never be reduced to a space for narrow bigotry. We have to upload the highest principles here, not let academic positions or programmes be traded or let education become yet another business. Given that the RSS is an important stakeholder in the NEP, it is critical that it guards against consumerist, neoliberal ideas of education taking over through the backdoor, while an apparent vigil of cultural nationalism is maintained in the front.

Amitabh Mattoo is professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University

Read the original here:
Treating education as a public good - The Hindu

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Five Indian students win Oxford Big Read Asia Prize, four from Nagpur – The Statesman

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

Marking a strong presence in the field of excellence, five students from India bagged prizes at Oxford Big Read Asia Prize at the Asia level. Out of these five students, four were from Nagpur while one from Madurai.

There were around 6000 submissions from schools from China, Malaysia, Pakistan, and India in the competition.

There are three categories for the different age groups in which the children compete.

BR Nimeesha from Sri Aurobindo Mira Universal School, Madurai was the winner in category 1 for the age group five to nine years.

In category 2, which is for the age group of 9 years to 11 years, Ananya Sheorey from The CDS School, Nagpur and Saara Den from Centre Point School, Nagpur were the winners. While in category 3 for the age group of 12 to 13 years, Neha Chhajed and Sama S Jahafirdar both of Bhavans BP Vidya Mandir, Nagpur were the winners.

Speaking about this competition, Sivaramakrishnan Venkateswaran, Managing Director, OUP India said, We are delighted to see growing participation and engagement in Oxford Big Read Asia. This competition provides students with an opportunity to augment the ambit of their reading and also demonstrate their literary and creative skills.

He added, We believe that early age interest in reading and writing is fundamental to ensuring better learning outcomes in young learners.

M Gnana Sundari Principal Sri Aurobindo Mira Universal School, Madurai said, I am happy to state that Oxford Big Read is an excellent contest for the students which creates in them a love for reading. Writing book reviews help students engage more deeply with what they are reading and also it is a great way to develop their vocabulary. Kudos to Oxford University Press for introducing this unique global program in India.

The campaign is open to schools and institutions in Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, and Pakistan through the Oxford University Press branch offices. Submissions from students are evaluated by a panel of judges based on originality of thought and expression, vocabulary range and the overall quality of content.

Go here to see the original:
Five Indian students win Oxford Big Read Asia Prize, four from Nagpur - The Statesman

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Frustration over Ayodhya verdict is not coming from Muslims but Left-illiberals – ThePrint

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

Text Size:A- A+

Much blood has flowed, tears too. Many insecurities have drowned, fears too. Enough political capital has been wasted, narratives too. Abundant inter-religious divisions have been created, riots and killings too. The 491-year-long religious battle behind, the three-decade-old political skirmish resolved, the victory for what had degenerated into a property dispute in hand, and the supremacy of the Constitution established, it is now time for India to live the ideals that Ram stood for.

If we are to examine avatars from the prism of spiritual goals, Rams transformative role was to deliver to the world the ideal of sattwa through action. Unlike the next avatar Krishna, Ram neither gave any spiritual discourse nor announced to the world his avatarhood. His role was to live like a man and raise men towards the sattva ideal through his actions, sacrifice, valour, justice and above all, love. Actions were his teachings, victory a legacy. At the point society then stood, Ram delivered the highest ideal by slaying Ravan and establishing Ram Rajya.

Rams business was to fix for the future the possibility of an order proper to the sattwic civilised human being who governs his life by the reason, the finer emotions, morality or at least moral ideals, such as truth, obedience, cooperation and harmony, the sense of humour, the sense of domestic and public order, to establish this in a world still occupied by anarchic forces, the Animal Mind and the powers of the vital Ego making its own satisfaction the rule of life, wrote Sri Aurobindo. Rama and Sita are the ideals of the Indian nation, Swami Vivekananda said in a 31 January 1900 lecture.

Taking that as a civilisational context, the battle for a plot of land measuring 2.77 acres seems statistically insignificant. But before the force of faith that sees the timeless, spaceless eternal in holy premises, this small plot of land had become one of the central points of division between Hindus and Muslims over centuries and in a formal court of law over decades. With the Supreme Court finally ruling favour of Hindus, but with caveats that include giving Muslims a five-acre plot to build a mosque in Ayodhya, we hope this clash of political religiosity, is behind us.

Also read:Ayodhya verdict made one thing clear. This is the problem with Indian secularism today

The five-judge verdict comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, next Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and justices Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer is unanimous. Spread over 1,045 pages, this has been one of the most closely-watched judgments and will be among the most closely-tracked orders of the Supreme Court over the next few decades. The scope for error and hence a revision, therefore, is limited. Judicial orders are technical and pivot around points of law and the Constitution, and hence, this judgement will set a precedence for future disputes on and around properties of faith.

Apart from the order per se, we laud the administrative planning between Gogoi and the government of Uttar Pradesh. Sensitive to potential troublemakers who could enflame peoples, the two institutions, the judiciary and the state executive, took pre-emptive measures to prevent violence. At the time of writing, we see no flashpoints. Hopefully, there will be none going forward. We also commend the maturity of political parties, all of which are standing firmly behind the judgement.

Above all, we see the rise of a mature India, a society that has been honed to peace on the hot anvil of religious violence, a nation worthy of the time. No triumphalism, no victory marches, no needling by Hindus. No violence, no threats, no anguish by Muslims. A general sense of peace and calm prevails that tell us that we are more than what the media headlines expect, that we can surprise ourselves in what cynics see as the most dire crisis of faith. Exhausted by years of suspicion and fighting, perhaps we are turning a new leaf in Hindu-Muslim relations, a leaf that the rest of the world could emulate.

Also read: Muslim bodies split on Ayodhya verdict review plea, community at odds with clergy

There is dissonance, of course. But barring stray comments by political leaders, it is not coming from Muslims. The source of this frustration is the predictable Left-illiberal ecosystem. Already a diminishing ideology and receiving only contempt and whataboutery with every tweet, Leftist ideologues are attacking not merely the judgment but the Supreme Court itself. In their minds, the judicial process works only when a verdict is in their favour. Not for them the multiple hues of democracy where among other things, finally we argue differences out in a court of law and bow before the majesty of law. In a civilisation that stands high above suffocating Left-Right-Centre boxes of Western thought, this ecosystem is best ignored. Stepping back, we see this group of people and their ideology expressions of tamasic forces that have been and continue to weaponise victimhood.

Irrespective, having won this long-drawn battle that has sucked out the energies of several faith warriors, the arc of action is now in the hands of Hindus. How they behave and what they do with this victory will decide the future course of India. Having fought for Ram, they need to follow Ram. Had the verdict been in favour of Muslims, Hindus should have embraced sacrifice and walked away, like Ram did, when asked to forego the kingdom and live in the forest for 14 years by his father. Along with Sita and Lakshman, as Ram walked into the forests, away from the luxuries of palace life, he didnt look back, harboured no regrets. A sattwic detachment guided his actions.

Winning the case, however, has placed the yoke of morality on the shoulders of Hindus. And as Ram bhakts they need to follow their faith. Despite defeating Ravan and killing him in battle, Ram installed Ravans brother Vibhishan as the king of Sri Lanka. He neednt have. Nobody would have raised any question had he taken charge of the kingdom. But driven by the sattwic ideal of righteousness and justice, Ram did what he did. No great discourse, no lecture. A simple act decided the course of the island nations future. He handed the throne to Ravans brother and flew to Ayodhya. Again, Ram didnt look back and despite a spectacular victory, remained detached in sattwa.

Also read:Why Mathura or Varanasi temple disputes wont go the Ayodhya way

To complete this judicial-physical win and turn it into a moral-religious victory, Hindus must learn from and follow Ram. If the Muslim leaders agree, for instance, Hindus could help build their mosque. They could help finance it. They could participate in several ways and celebrate its completion. All this without the smallest political grandstanding. Simple actions, silently executed would go a long way in not merely imparting dignity to the victory but even creating a virtuous cycle of Hindu-Muslim unity, a model for 21st century India.

This would mean the people shunning vested political interests from both communities. Politics in the area of religion has repeatedly proven to be a tool that has short-changed the people. Religion in the premises of politics has failed to harmonise collective interests. On the contrary, political religiosity has created rifts and fed on and profited from them. It is perhaps time to reverse the cycle. That is, allow the sattwa ideal in individuals each being harbours some aspect of sattwa within to engage one another and create a new and harmonious India. From that sattwic ideal, that unity, that spiritual oneness will emerge Indias 21st century Ram Rajya.

Finally, we see the pyres of hatred and potential rebirth of an aspired-for harmony. Now that the people have shown the maturity that political leaders ought to have had in the first place, perhaps politics will follow through and pick up the pieces of destruction physical and psychological and rebuild the nation as per the new will of the people. The people are done with faith-based, religion-driven lives of mutual suspicion. We look at this verdict as the beginning of new political alignments in tune with a new India.

The temple is a body, Ram an eternal ideal. The body in control, now embrace that sattwic ideal.

The author is Vice President at Observer Research Foundation.

This article wasfirst publishedon ORF.

ThePrint is now on Telegram. For the best reports & opinion on politics, governance and more, subscribe to ThePrint on Telegram.

Here is the original post:
Frustration over Ayodhya verdict is not coming from Muslims but Left-illiberals - ThePrint

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Top 5 of the day11 November 2019, Vacancies TRIFED, ISRO, South Central Railway, WBHRB and other organizations – Jagran Josh

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

If you are preparing for the government job then you should look at these top 5 government jobs announced today, 11 November 2019, for more than 5800+ vacancies in different departments and institutions. Yes, TRIFED, ISRO, South Central Railway, WBHRB, Sri Aurobindo College have released these government jobs for aspirants. If you are preparing for government jobs then these recruitment notifications are very crucial for you and you can apply for these posts before its last date of application.

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED) has invited applications for the Group A, B and C posts. The eligible persons can apply for the posts through the online mode on or before 30 November 2019.

ISRO-Satish Dhawan Space CentreSHAR has invited applications for recruitment to the post of Technician/Draughtsman B. Interested candidates can apply to the posts through the prescribed format on or before 29 November 2019.

South Central Railway has published the recruitment notification for the post of Apprentice. More than 4000 vacancies are available under various trades including AC Mechanic, Carpenter, Fitter, Electrician, Welder, Diesel Mechanic etc. Online applications are invited for South Central Railway Apprentice Recruitment 2019. Eligible and interested candidates can apply for the post online through South Central Railway website scr.indianrailways.gov.in on or before 08 December 2019.

West Bengal Health Recruitment Board (WBHRB) has invited applications for recruitment to the post of General Duty Medical Officer, Block Medical Officer of Health. Interested candidates can apply to the posts through the prescribed format on or before 15 November 2019.

Sri Aurobindo College, Delhi University has invited applications for recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor. Interested candidates can apply to the posts through the prescribed format on or before 27 November 2019.

TRIFED Recruitment 2019 for 86 Group A, B and C Posts

ISRO SDSC SHAR Recruitment 2019: 90 Vacancies for Technician/Draughtsman B Posts, Apply by 29 Nov

South Central Railway Recruitment 2019 for 4103 Apprentice Posts, Apply Online @scr.indianrailways.gov.in

WBHRB Recruitment 2019: 1497 Vacancies Notified for GDMO and BDMOHs Posts, Apply Online from 15 Nov

Sri Aurobindo College DU Recruitment 2019 for 77 Assistant Professor Posts, Apply Online by 27 Nov

Read the original post:
Top 5 of the day11 November 2019, Vacancies TRIFED, ISRO, South Central Railway, WBHRB and other organizations - Jagran Josh

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Temple is a body, Ram an eternal ideal – Observer Research Foundation

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

Much blood has flowed, tears too. Many insecurities have drowned, fears too. Enough political capital has been wasted, narratives too. Abundant inter-religious divisions have been created, riots and killings too. The 491-year-long religious battle behind, the three-decade-old political skirmish resolved, the victory for what had degenerated into a property dispute in hand, and the supremacy of the Constitution established, it is now time for India to live the ideals that Ram stood for.

If we are to examine avatars from the prism of spiritual goals, Rams transformative role was to deliver to the world the ideal of sattwa through action. Unlike the next avatar Krishna, Ram neither gave any spiritual discourse nor announced to the world his avatarhood. His role was to live like a man and raise men towards the sattva ideal through his actions, sacrifice, valour, justice and above all, love. Actions were his teachings, victory a legacy. At the point society then stood, Ram delivered the highest ideal by slaying Ravan and establishing Ram Rajya.

Rams business was to fix for the future the possibility of an order proper to the sattwic civilised human being who governs his life by the reason, the finer emotions, morality or at least moral ideals, such as truth, obedience, cooperation and harmony, the sense of humour, the sense of domestic and public order, to establish this in a world still occupied by anarchic forces, the Animal Mind and the powers of the vital Ego making its own satisfaction the rule of life, wrote Sri Aurobindo. Rama and Sita are the ideals of the Indian nation, Swami Vivekananda said in a 31 January 1900 lecture.

Taking that as a civilisational context, the battle for a plot of land measuring 2.77 acres seems statistically insignificant. But before the force of faith that sees the timeless, spaceless eternal in a holy premises, this small plot of land had become one of the central points of division between Hindus and Muslims over centuries and in a formal court of law over decades. With the Supreme Court finally ruling favour of Hindus, but with caveats that include giving Muslims a 5 acre plot to build a mosque in Ayodhya, we hope this clash of political religiosity, is behind us.

The five-judge verdict comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, next Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and justices Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer is unanimous. Spread over 1,045 pages, this has been one of the most closely-watched judgments and will be among the most closely-tracked orders of the Supreme Court over the next few decades. The scope for error and hence a revision, therefore, is limited. Judicial orders are technical and pivot around points of law and the Constitution, and hence, this judgement will set a precedence for future disputes on and around properties of faith.

Apart from the order per se, we laud the administrative planning between Gogoi and the government of Uttar Pradesh. Sensitive to potential troublemakers who could enflame peoples, the two institutions, the judiciary and the state executive, took pre-emptive measures to prevent violence. At the time of writing, we see no flashpoints. Hopefully, there will be none going forward. We also commend the maturity of political parties, all of which are standing firmly behind the judgement.

Above all, we see the rise of a mature India, a society that has been honed to peace on the hot anvil of religious violence, a nation worthy of the time. No triumphalism, no victory marches, no needling by Hindus. No violence, no threats, no anguish by Muslims. A general sense of peace and calm prevails that tell us that we are more than what the media headlines expect, that we can surprise ourselves in what cynics see as the most dire crisis of faith. Exhausted by years of suspicion and fighting, perhaps we are turning a new leaf in Hindu-Muslim relations, a leaf that the rest of the world could emulate.

There is dissonance, of course. But barring stray comments by political leaders, it is not coming from Muslims. The source of this frustration is the predictable Left-illiberal ecosystem. Already a diminishing ideology and receiving only contempt and whataboutary with every tweet, Leftist ideologues are attacking not merely the judgement but the Supreme Court itself. In their minds, the judicial process works only when a verdict is in their favour. Not for them the multiple hues of democracy where among other things, finally we argue differences out in a court of law and bow before the majesty of law. In a civilisation that stands high above suffocating Left-Right-Centre boxes of Western thought, this ecosystem is best ignored. Stepping back, we see this group of people and their ideology expressions of tamasic forces that have been and continue to weaponise victimhood.

Irrespective, having won this long-drawn battle that has sucked out the energies of several faith warriors, the arc of action is now in the hands of Hindus. How they behave and what they do with this victory will decide the future course of India. Having fought for Ram, they need to follow Ram. Had the verdict been in favour of Muslims, Hindus should have embraced sacrifice and walked away, like Ram did, when asked to forego the kingdom and live in the forest for 14 years by his father. Along with Sita and Lakshman, as Ram walked into the forests, away from the luxuries of palace life, he didnt look back, harboured no regrets. A sattwic detachment guided his actions.

Winning the case, however, has placed the yoke of morality on the shoulders of Hindus. And as Ram bhakts they need to follow their faith. Despite defeating Ravan and killing him in battle, Ram installed Ravans brother Vibhishan as the king of Sri Lanka. He neednt have. Nobody would have raised any question had he taken charge of the kingdom. But driven by the sattwic ideal of righteousness and justice, Ram did what he did. No great discourse, no lecture. A simple act decided the course of the island nations future. He handed the throne to Ravans brother and flew to Ayodhya. Again, Ram didnt look back and despite a spectacular victory, remained detached in sattwa.

To complete this judicial-physical win and turn it into a moral-religious victory, Hindus must learn from and follow Ram. If the Muslim leaders agree, for instance, Hindus could help build their mosque. They could help finance it. They could participate in several ways and celebrate its completion. All this without the smallest political grandstanding. Simple actions, silently executed would go a long way in not merely imparting dignity to the victory but even creating a virtuous cycle of Hindu-Muslim unity, a model for 21st century India.

This would mean the people shunning vested political interests from both communities. Politics in the area of religion has repeatedly proven to be a tool that has short-changed the people. Religion in the premises of politics has failed to harmonise collective interests. On the contrary, political religiosity has created rifts and fed on and profited from them. It is perhaps time to reverse the cycle. That is, allow the sattwa ideal in individuals each being harbours some aspect of sattwa within to engage one another and create a new and harmonious India. From that sattwic ideal, that unity, that spiritual oneness will emerge Indias 21st century Ram Rajya.

Finally, we see the pyres of hatred and a potential rebirth of an aspired-for harmony. Now that the people have shown the maturity that political leaders ought to have had in the first place, perhaps politics will follow through and pick up the pieces of destruction physical and psychological and rebuild the nation as per the new will of the people. The people are done with faith-based, religion-driven lives of mutual suspicion. We look at this verdict as the beginning of new political alignments in tune with a new India.

The temple is a body, Ram an eternal ideal. The body in control, now embrace that sattwic ideal.

The views expressed above belong to the author(s).

See the original post:
Temple is a body, Ram an eternal ideal - Observer Research Foundation

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Delhi Tops the List of Most Polluted City in The World – News18

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

At 7 am on Friday (November 15) morning, the air quality in several areas of the Delhi and NCR, including Pusa Road (777), Dwarka Sector 8 (930), Pragati Vihar (733), Anand Vihar (535), Noida Sector 125 (665), Noida Sector 62 (538), US Embassy in Chanakyapuri (660), Jahagirpuri (610), Narela (808), Bawana (865), Okhla (722), Satyawati College in Ashok Vihar (757), Sonia Vihar (565), Alipur (644), Sri Aurobindo Marg (733), Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business in Rohini (765) and Patparganj (571) crossed the severe-plus category. (Image: PTI)

Go here to read the rest:
Delhi Tops the List of Most Polluted City in The World - News18

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with

Amruta Patil on forests and the making of her graphic novel ‘Aranyaka’ – Livemint

Posted: at 2:44 pm


without comments

To know if a tale is worth its weight in gold, check if it reveals itself threefold. In your bloodstream. In the town square. In the turning of galaxies," Amruta Patil writes early on in Adi Parva: Churning Of The Ocean (2013), her graphic retelling of the Mahabharata. It is tempting to recall these words as we enter the world of her new work, Aranyaka: Book Of The Forest, in which the story and art are by Patil, based on concepts suggested by best-selling writer and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik.

As the subtitle points out, Aranyaka unfolds in the primal setting of the forest, a remote and dangerous realm in the imagination of most city-dwellers. But contemporary readers will feel the pulse of the story in their bloodstream. From gender politics to man-animal conflict to appropriation of forest land, issues that have brought people out on Indias streets in recent times run through its pages. These themes, while urgent and relevant in 21st century India, also hark back to the Vedic Age (1500-500 BC), forging a link between our historic past and immediate present.

The story is told in Patils inimitable style. The lines roll out with a poetic cadence, crisp and, at times, cryptic. There are acute insights into life in the wild (Creepers bloom with great urgency when they sense a future of scarcity"). Unlike the mixed media and collage that defined her earlier work, Patil uses watercolour and soft pencils in Aranyaka. The effect is gentle on the eye, dark and dreamy.

The singularity of the book is amplified by Pattanaiks role in it. While his social media personality may seem abrasive and brusque, his ideas are obviously shot through with gold. The man isnt the tyrant people assume he is", Patil assured me when we spoke on email, followed by a Skype call, two weeks ago.

It all started a few years ago, when Pattanaik met Patil with a proposal. He wanted to do a handbook of concepts tentatively called A Vedic Truth. One illustrated concept per page," says Patil. To that end, he had a checklist." Akash (sky), agni (fire), bhaya (panic), kama (desire), and so on. An extended version of this list appears in an index to Aranyaka. But rather than a straightforward concept book", Patil offered to write a parable. She picked her cues from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (nine-six century BC), particularly from the story of Yajnavalkya, the great scholar of Advaita philosophy, and his two wivesthe sensual and earthy Katyayani, and the austere and cerebral Maitreyi (in the Mahabharata, Maitreyi appears in a different avatar, as a young, unmarried philosopher). Pattanaik saw the merit in the project, and their affinity set Aranyaka on its way.

Patil and Pattanaik had known and admired each others work for some years, before they became friends at a TED conference in Mysuru in 2009. I approached Amruta (with the idea of what became Aranyaka) because I am a fan of her graphic novel Kari, which made me deeply experience the love and loneliness of Indian urban life," Pattanaik says in a note (co-written by Patil and him) on the making of Aranyaka at the end of the book. I needed someone who was a seeker but not overwhelmed by tradition."

What began life as abstract ideas laid out in bullet points by Pattanaik on A4 paper in 2016 morphed into something rich and strange three years later. A handbook of hard concepts turned into a layered, highly subtle graphic novel about food, feeding, fear, exchange and love," as Patil puts it. Slowly, the cast acquired depth and definition. Yajnavalkya became Y, Maitreyi was first shortened to M, then to the Fig". Only Katyayani remained who she was, a woman with a voluptuous body and insatiable appetite. I am Katyayani the Large," she says unabashedly at the start of the book. The warp of my story has always been hunger."

Katyayani reconstructs for the reader an origin story, before life dawned on Earth (Even the gods came later"). As species populated land and water, an inevitable struggle arose, in which the fittest survived. Thus the law of the wild was established. Over time, the forests taught human beings their rules of civility, the art of hunting and gathering, and the ethos of living and letting live.

Katyayanis excommunication from her villagefor eating food that was offered to the godsinto the heart of aranya schools her in the ways of the land. Left to fend for herself, she learns to forage and sift the edible from the poisonous. Finding sources of water proves an even bigger challenge than securing food. In the course of her wanderings, she gradually becomes aware of the ruthless, unsentimental force that is the forest. Human laws are meaningless here. Aranya doesnt mind you alive, it doesnt mind you dead," she realizes. In fact, it doesnt care one way or the other. Here, I wasnt Katyayani the Large, but predator, prey, ally, rival, mate."

Indias first woman graphic novelist, Patil made her debut with Kari (2008), a book that remains one of its kind. Having grown up in Goa, she studied art there, and later in the US, before working in advertising in Mumbai. Kari, set in that city, follows the fortunes of an androgynous woman working in an advertising agency who is in love with Ruth. Part-flneuse, part-seeker, Kari is the archetypal misfit. Her love for Ruth is doomed; her friend Angel is dying; Kari cannot reciprocate the affections of Lazarus, who is smitten by her. Instead, Kari wants her breasts to go away, look like Chow Yun-fat, and insists on a 2mm buzz cut" even as the hairdresser warns her, Madam, face looking boy type."

The protagonist of Kari emerged before the book in its existing form did. She was my significantly-cooler alter ego," Patil says. Later, in the aftermath of a big love affair collapsing, I fused traits of my ex with Karis. The fusional narcissism of young love: together forever in literary posterity, if not in real life!" In pre-Pride, pre-Tinder India, when desires were still policed under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the story was far ahead of its time. It was at once a howl and a self-deprecating chucklea baby book of baby curves," Patil says.

In 2014, Patil moved to France (I have had an equation with France since 2009," she adds) and, with that, towards a different mode of avant-garde. She wrote a duology", retelling the story of the Mahabharata through the voices of two sutradharsthe ones that hold the thread of the narrativewho are both outliers. The first volume was narrated by Ganga; the next from the point of view of Ashwatthama. Finishing the duology took long years of solitary labour. And although Aranyaka brought in the excitement of collaboration, it wasnt all smooth sailing either.

There was, of course, the distance between Patils life in Angoulme, France, and Pattanaiks in Mumbai. But more crucially, there was also the difference in their temperaments. Devdutt does four books a year, I do one book in four years. He likes 12-noon bright-light type of clarity of communication. I trust allusion, ambivalence, things that do not reveal themselves immediately. Hes urban, effortlessly smooth in professional settings, I am a small-town girl who gets anxious in malls and stricken by imposter syndrome at literary soirees. Hes logical-analytical and pattern-seeking, I am all healthy gut-flora and intuition," Patil says. We are both about loyalty, though, and about trying to understand the world rather than sit in judgement on it. I joke that he isnt allowed to release a book called How To Become Rich one week before Aranyaka without ensuring some of that stardust rubs off on to long-suffering collaborators!"

The two argued over terms like surrender" and gratitude". There was some sulking on Patils part, she adds, over sensuous visual details being curbed to make the book troll-safe", a valid concern given the sensitivities about Hindu culture in contemporary India. Its a good time to be taking lore backas if it was anyones to hijack in the first placebut I would have been doing this regardless of what epoch I was in," Patil says. The sociopolitical clime became thin-skinned and paranoid, but I had been at my desk for many years already."

WHAT THE FOREST MEANS

In the history of South Asia, forests often exist as idealized spaces of retreat. Scriptures and epics speak of sages retiring to the jungles to meditate and attain enlightenment. Kings and householders went there to spend the third phase of their lives, vanaprastha, far from the temptation of earthly desires. In contrast to this voluntary exile, being banished to the forest is an injunction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In both texts, the forest is filled with monsters and ogres, but also offers vital lessons.

In epics across the world (be they stories told by the Nordic people, the Celts or Mesopotamians or Greeks or people from the Indian sub-continent), the forest is a limin, a space between things," wrote classical scholar and translator Arshia Sattar, in an essay in The Indian Quarterly last year. More correctly, it is a space of transition, often a boundary or a threshold."

The ambivalent potential of the forest is a familiar idea in Patils Parva duology, especially in Sauptik: Blood And Flowers (2016). In it, Patil shows Dronacharya, the royal preceptor, training the Pandava and Kaurava princes in the art of war, while also passing on to them the secrets of flora and fauna. After years of being (in the forest), if a fool still dies eating a poisonous berry, Id say he deserves his fate," he tells his pupils, teaching them poultices, tinctures, the minds and hearts of herbs". The forests in the epics were not merely terrains filled with hazards and overrun with savages. They also embodied a form of civilization in themselves.

This awareness of forests is essential to appreciate Hindu philosophy but is conspicuous by its absence in all Upanishadic commentaries we read since the 19th century. Its because (around that time) we are responding to colonial powers and Christian mythology, where nature is again conspicuous by its absence," Pattanaik says. Christianity is essentially an urban religionit sees the village as the site of the pagan. Thus we find a general disdain for the forest: It is chaos to be controlled. And that has shaped the development agenda."

Modern, industrialized societies owe their existence to the taming of wilderness. From the days of the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas burnt down the Khandava Vana to establish their capital Indraprastha, to the cutting of over 2,000 trees in Mumbais Aarey forest for a Metro car depot in 21st century India, there is an unbroken tradition of wiping out forest land for the sake of progress". But nature extracts its revenge. This year alone, California has seen over 160,000 acres of land burn down in wildfires caused by natural and man-made forces.

If aranya heaves with unconcealed wrath, it also dazzles with its beauty. So irresistible is the call of the wild that even after Katyayani settles down in domesticity with Y, she finds herself a grove, where, away from the comforts of home, she begins to notice trees and stars, bugs and beetles again. All day long she tills the land and tends to her kitchen, but in the evenings she retreats into this secret garden.

The forest, for Katyayani, is as much of a refuge as it was for Shakuntala, who was born and reared there in a hermitage. King Dushyanta meets Shakuntala while on a hunt with his entourage. As historian Romila Thapar points out in akuntala: Texts, Readings, Histories (2002), A series of contrasting settings frames the scenes: the ferocity of the hunt, the gentle calm of the hermitage, each presenting a different face of nature, of the forest, the aranya." This onslaught on nature" by Dushyanta, Thapar says, presages his violent rejection of Shakuntala, who is the daughter of nature, when she goes to the city to claim his love.

A similar fate also befalls Sita in the Ramayana. If the forest around Chitrakoot, where she spends 13 years with Rama and Lakshmana, brings her joy, its also where she is abducted. In Ashoka Vana in Ravanas Lanka, the forest becomes a place of darkness and despair for her. Finally, sent by Rama for no fault of hers to live in Valmikis forest, she feels loved and protected again.

Retold through the ages, the fascination with Sita story endures: Sitas Ramayana (2012) by Samhita Arni and Moyna Chitrakar, Pattanaiks The Girl Who Chose: A New Way Of Narrating The Ramayana (2016), Amit Majmudars Sitayana, Aditya Iyengars Bhumika: A Story Of Sita (2019)examples abound. But the most compelling among the recent retellings is Chitra Banerjee Divakarunis The Forest Of Enchantments (2019).

As the title indicates, the novel focuses on Sitas life in the junglefirst with Rama and Lakshmana and, later, under Ravanas watch in Ashok Vana in Lanka. The forest is a crucial space of change, discovery and growth for Sita," Divakaruni says. This seems right to me, given that she is Bhumija, or daughter of the earth. In many ways, the forest, representing the unknown and raw power of nature, is opposed, or complementary, to the city, with its human civilization and laws." The forest, in a sense, is not only a physical space of conflict but also a psychological battleground, forcing individuals to make hard choices that often lead to woe and misfortune. This truth plays out in the Ramayana as Sita, bewitched by Maricha disguised as a golden deer, convinces Rama to go in its pursuit.

Mind and matter

The key conflict in Aranyaka is also between the blindly instinctive body and the rational logic of the mind. Katyayani discovers Y during her peregrinations through the forest in an anthill. An ascetic who left his guru to seek his own path following the almighty sun as his guide, Y is pulled out of his abstinence by Katyayani. Her voracious appetite for food, and for sex, softens his hard edges. Y begins to the enjoy physical play over mental exertions , but also resents the distractions. He upbraids Katyayani periodically for her lack of interest in the intellect and utter immersion in the pleasures of the body.

There are Ys around us everywhere, otherwise remarkable people who think that the only way to sagesse is by going beyond the body, by privileging the mind over the stomach, by renouncing rather than embracing the corporeal," says Patil. As Katyayani shows Y, as well as the pupils who come to him, the mind is but a feeble vessel if the body isnt sustained by nourishment. Recently, I read the story of Sri Aurobindos long-forgotten wife, Mrinalini, who had nothing uncommon about her (like Katyayani)," Patil adds. Mercifully, Aurobindo, whom no one can accuse of being anti-intellectual, recognized that those who use only their minds to grasp the nature of reality, have a far less intimate, immediate understanding of it." Patils own world view too is not based on the principle of either-or choosing one path over another.

Be it in the #MeToo movement or anything else, she is naturally suspicious of mass consensus, she tells me on Skype, preferring to reach her conclusions on a case-by-case basis, without being bullied". Her faith in her own judgement has led to some unconventional choices. I didnt need Draupadi to be my sutradhaar (in Sauptik) to prove my feminist cred," she says. People missed the point, but I thought it was far more interesting and subversive to talk about heroic or toxic masculinity via a broken, bleeding man like Ashwatthama."

Karthika V.K., who has edited and published all of Patils booksthe first three while she was at HarperCollins India, and now Aranyaka at Westlandaffirms her authors deep and quiet certitudes. Editing Amrutas work is a bit like editing film," she says. You have to closely attend to continuity of colour, background, the outward appearances of characters." It also involves asking many questions. More than I might ordinarily ask of other texts," says Karthika, because I want to ensure the reader will understand what shes trying to saythough I also know that shes probably thought about, and resolved, most of my concerns already."

The plot of Aranyaka, for instance, with its roots in realism, may seem clear as the light of day to readers, but like the forest, it is deceptive. From the interstices of its elegant frames and punchy lines, a thicket of meanings and metaphors begin to cast a web, making the book essential reading for our times, when opinions are increasingly etched in black and white, and shouted out to drown dissenting voices.

Patil isnt worried about adverse reactions to her work. Having spent most of the last decade in France, she is ready to return to India for some time now. India is the heart hotly pumping blood into my system. France was cool hibernation, hermitage. I needed them both for the work that happened so far," she says. I think its time for me to be in India more now."

Read more from the original source:
Amruta Patil on forests and the making of her graphic novel 'Aranyaka' - Livemint

Written by admin

November 15th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Sri Aurobindo

Tagged with


Page 11234..»